How does Scott Walker win Ohio? He won’t.

I hear that Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker gives really good stump speeches in his quest to win the U.S. Presidency in 2016.  In a very crowded GOP field where a candidate only has to have more than 10% support to be considered one of the serious contenders (really? when 2016 is still 5 months away?), Walker appears to be well positioned for the first GOP caucus contest early next year in Iowa.  So, what if he wins Iowa?  What if he wins nominating contests in New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada?  A lot of competitors will have quit after striking out in the first four contests, true.  But will those potential wins provide the bump he needs to win the White House?  I don’t think so.  Though Ohio’s electoral votes seem to decrease with every census, I still do not see how a Republican candidate wins the White House without winning Ohio.  I don’t see how Scott Walker can win Ohio in a general election unless the Democrat nominee makes a mammoth (and I mean huge, huge, huge) blunder.

It is conceivable, however unlikely, that Walker could win a GOP primary in Ohio, especially if the GOP field is still crowded.  But the field won’t be crowded.  With so many candidates at this stage of the race, the double-digit support Walker currently has makes him seem like a Goliath (OK, maybe not compared to Donald Trump or former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, but I think you know what I mean).  In my memory, I can never recall a GOP primary ballot in Ohio that listed more than five presidential candidates.  Going from double-digit numbers of candidates down to 5 candidates would mean that Scott Walker would have to climb to at least 20% of the vote to win, and 20% would only win if the other candidates were also deadlocked with 20% of the vote yet each tallying one less vote than Scott Walker’s.  If there were just 2 candidates Ohio’s GOP primary ballot and one of them were Scott Walker, I seriously doubt he could cross the 50% threshold to win.  His best chance to win Ohio’s delegates is for all the other candidates to drop out (and sometimes that happens by the time Ohio votes).

Walker was making national news as governor of Wisconsin at the same time that John Kasich was making national news as governor of Ohio.  True, Kasich made national news as a key member of the Congress that balanced the federal budget in the 1990’s, but, for many voters, that is not recent memory.  Governors Walker and Kasich were in the national spotlight for the same thing: passing legislation to drastically alter the collective bargaining rights of the public-sector labor unions.

To me, showing real leadership in executive office means toughly negotiating a fair contract.  Leadership is needed not only at the state level to get labor contracts that strike the right balance, but also at the local levels of government, too.  Voters don’t always elect good leaders, and that’s on them if they didn’t do their homework prior to voting.  So, if labor contracts exist that are not in the public’s best interest, then the public needs to recruit good leaders and vote them into office.  After the victors take office, they need to remember that taxpayers expect that our government executives negotiate contracts that the public can support.

What Walker and Kasich tried to do was compensate for an overall lack of leadership, at state and local levels, regarding labor contract negotiations.  They tried to use the legislation to overturn negotiated contracts.  This step, in and of itself, is not only wrong (because it breaks promises), but it weakens the executive branch’s negotiating clout down the road.  Negotiating in good faith strengthens one’s clout.  Wiping out contracts with legislation shows that one did not negotiate in good faith.  Now, what does one do to engender trust when negotiating with the unions if the unions think that you’re just going to turn around and lobby the legislature to undercut what you just agreed to?  Walker is insulated from his mistake, for now, because voters in Wisconsin sided with him. Now, he needs to find votes in other states, and, speaking of states, Ohio is not an insignificant one.

I think that the labor unions in Wisconsin mistakenly thought that marketplace principles don’t apply to them, for they must have assumed that they could do a crappy job and get away with it. When I think about how things turned out, I think Walker’s victories must have had more to do with taxpayer discontent with public employee performance than with anything else. The moral to the story for Wisconsin’s public employees is this:  Serve the public well.  Had that been the case, Wisconsin’s public employees might have succeeded like the public-sector labor unions in Ohio did.  Ohio turned out to support its public employees at the ballot box.

In 2011, Ohio voters supported the referendum that killed Senate Bill 5, carrying 83 of Ohio’s 88 counties. In Kasich’s bid for re-election in 2014, he had to assure Ohioans that he had learned his lesson and would not go back down that same path to do an end run around labor contracts via legislation.  Lucky for Kasich, he was opposed by Ed Fitzgerald, an ineffective and disgraceful politician from Cuyahoga County, in the 2014 gubernatorial race.  Media observers outside Ohio should not read too much into Kasich’s 2014 win because they need to take into account just how pitifully weak a candidate Fitzgerald was.  Therefore, Kasich’s ability to win Ohio as a presidential candidate is not a foregone conclusion.

Let’s make something clear:  In turning back SB 5 in all but 5 counties (Delaware, Warren, Holmes, Shelby, and Mercer), it would appear that a number of Ohio Republicans thought that the bad-faith legislative end-run around promises made to public employees was a bad move.  Democrats, alone, didn’t kill that bill.  In a contested GOP primary, assuming Walker is still in the mix, he can only pick up the votes of those who favored the bill, which, as I pointed out, may not provide a winning margin if the number of candidates is dwindling.  I don’t know what Walker’s fundraising acumen is, but I suppose he could find well-heeled donors in Delaware and Warren counties to give the illusion that he has some kind of political support in Ohio, but money doesn’t necessarily add up to votes.  Though there are other planks in Walker’s platform besides union-busting, many of those same planks exist in the platforms of his competitors.  In other words, he is different from the other candidates in that he engaged in union-busting and got away with it.  Except, he really won’t get away with it, because the path to the White House leads through Ohio.  Kasich, for his part, is apologetic (but he still might not carry Ohio).  Walker remains unapologetic.  And this brings us to the general election of 2016 (okay, I said the 2016 general election might not even happen if all hell breaks loose).

Do we need to remind everyone that Ohio is a swing state?  The Democrats GOTV efforts in Ohio during presidential election years have been full-throttle, to say the least.  The Democrats know that no matter how large the magnitude of resources is that’s poured into Ohio, it pays off if they deny the GOP of Ohio’s electors.  So though Ohio looks red in between presidential election years, the Democrats painted Ohio blue in 2008 and 2012.  History shows us that Republicans do not win the White House without Ohio’s electors.  If Scott Walker were the GOP nominee, how does he carry Ohio?  The death of SB 5 would suggest that Walker will definitely not max out the Republican vote.  What does he offer for Democrats that may cause them to think about crossing over?  Nothing.

Walker slashed the unions claiming that it would save the taxpayers some money.  Maybe it just re-allocated where money is spent, for Walker plans to help the Milwaukee Bucks NBA team get a new arena with the help of taxpayer money–from new taxes.  That’s called corporate welfare.  That doesn’t even sell well with the Tea Party.  Meanwhile, as a saving grace, Kasich works wonders with budgets without more taxation.  Conclusion: Walker’s union-busting is a bust in Ohio.  White House access denied.

Kasich, for his part, has a chance, but the Democrat nominee will not be Ed Fitzgerald in November 2016.  I think he knows that.

James Williamson guest blog: Imminent Rebellion: The Perfect Storm

Editor’s note: James Williamson is one of my younger brothers and is an Ohio native currently residing in Nevada.  He has written a number of guest blog posts for Buckeye RINO previously.  The topic he keeps revisiting is the tension between state governments and the federal government, and the phrase “Imminent Rebellion” is included in title of each blog post in the series, for he predicts that one day, several states may part ways with the federal government, which he believes might even lead to another civil war.  The other posts in the Imminent Rebellion Series are linked here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.

In this post, James tackles the topic of Jade Helm.  I have presented a competing viewpoint on Jade Helm here on my Buckeye RINO blog titled, “The Meaning of Jade Helm 15 for the Future of the United States of America.“–DJW

Imminent Rebellion: The Perfect Storm

When I first started writing about the split between the Feds and the states it was not a common topic of discussion, nor did another civil war seem imminent to many besides me. Now with the many conspiracy theories surrounding Jade Helm 15 it seems to be a little more vogue. For those that don’t know, Jade Helm 15 is a series of military exercises that are to be held over the next two months in several states, with many of the exercises being conducted in populated areas. This has caused quite a stir in the states where the exercises are being conducted, most notably Texas. Even Chuck Norris felt the need to speak about it and called it “more than a military exercise”.

One of the reasons there are so many conspiracy theories is because the government is not saying what the purpose of the exercises are beyond training in urban environments . . . and they are prohibiting direct coverage by the press. That, of course, is just nectar for the bees (or wasps as the case may be…) and no one should be surprised that the bees are swarming. While there are many theories about the operation the most popular are that the federal government is either 1) preparing to fight ISIS insurgents (some saying on foreign, others on domestic soil) or 2) they are getting ready to declare martial law that would be triggered by riots or some other national crisis. I suppose that you could take a third road and say it’s both. If ISIS took hold here in the US, martial law might have to be declared to effectively counterattack especially if some of the ISIS fighters happen to be US citizens.

For more on the nationwide race riot conspiracy theory, you can read about an alleged race database that is being compiled by “Big Brother” here:  “Obama collecting personal data for a secret race database.”

If Jade Helm 15 is preparation for a foreign campaign, as the few public comments on it from the military indicate, then we have little to be concerned about, right? Well, it does’t fit the rhetoric. The administration has been consistently talking about reducing the number of troops in the Middle East, not increasing them. The administration has also stated that they don’t want to be involved on the ground in Syria. This could be just for Iraq to keep the hard fought gains there, but that doesn’t fit the rhetoric either. We are supposed to have a smaller footprint there, not a bigger one. There is not popular support for any more military invervention in the middle-east anyway so what would the exercise be for if not there? The Ukraine? That makes even less sense. Whose side would we even be on? Aren’t Obama and Putin striking a more conciliatory tone toward each other and calling for “cooperation”? There are reports that the administration is trying to get help from Russia in Syria again. It wouldn’t be prudent to help the Ukrainians put down the pro-Russian movement there if we are trying to get something from Russia. Then again, this administration has never made a lot of sense regarding foreign policy unless you are a cynic. Any other possibilities? China? Not likely. North Korea? Not worth our time. Iran? In the words of Jack Sparrow, “Why fight when you can negotiate?” The ink is not even dry on the agreement with Iran. Intervention on foreign soil just doesn’t make sense (unless you want to start making comparisons to the German/Soviet nonaggression pact…) so we come back to the domestic soil theory.

If Jade Helm 15 is indeed designed for a domestic operation then there is even more cause for concern. Regardless of the trigger, having live military operations on US soil means there is trouble in our own back yard. Many are saying that it’s not just coincidence that Texas, Utah, and the southern tip of California are listed as “hostile” territory for the drills and that they will be targeted first.  Maybe this is all just crazy talk, but why, after more than a decade of urban warfare in Iraq, do we suddenly need urban warfare training in populated areas within the United States? We didn’t need them when we invaded Baghdad. Why now? One thing is for certain: Uncle Sam is not giving answers, so we are left to ponder and let our imaginations run wild. That doesn’t seem like an effective way to run a public relations campaign.

If martial law were declared while President Obama is still in office it would put the liberal Democrats in a tough spot ideologically as they generally are the group that derides Abraham Lincoln for essentially imposing martial law by suspending habeus corpus after the start of the Civil War. On the other hand President Obama is a Lincoln admirer. He started his presidency by riding the train along the same route that Lincoln did on his way to Washington DC. Maybe President Obama wants to follow in Lincoln’s footsteps in more ways than one?

Blast from the past: A 2009 Michael Spencer article featured in a 2010 Buckeye RINO post due for revisitation in the wake of SCOTUS decision on same-sex marriage

At Buckeye RINO in 2010, I ruminated on an op-ed article titled “The Coming Evangelical Collapse” that appeared in the Christian Science Monitor that was penned by Michael Spencer.  In his article, he predicted that in the next ten years, the following conditions would materialize that would threaten evangelical Christianity:

The promotion of social causes in the political realm by evangelicals not well versed in the Gospel would boomerang.

1. Evangelicals have identified their movement with the culture war and with political conservatism. This will prove to be a very costly mistake. Evangelicals will increasingly be seen as a threat to cultural progress. Public leaders will consider us bad for America, bad for education, bad for children, and bad for society.

The evangelical investment in moral, social, and political issues has depleted our resources and exposed our weaknesses. Being against gay marriage and being rhetorically pro-life will not make up for the fact that massive majorities of Evangelicals can’t articulate the Gospel with any coherence. We fell for the trap of believing in a cause more than a faith.

The youngest generation of adults would have little understanding of the Gospel, let alone its importance.

2. We Evangelicals have failed to pass on to our young people an orthodox form of faith that can take root and survive the secular onslaught. Ironically, the billions of dollars we’ve spent on youth ministers, Christian music, publishing, and media has produced a culture of young Christians who know next to nothing about their own faith except how they feel about it. Our young people have deep beliefs about the culture war, but do not know why they should obey scripture, the essentials of theology, or the experience of spiritual discipline and community. Coming generations of Christians are going to be monumentally ignorant and unprepared for culture-wide pressures.

Evangelism will wither.

3. There are three kinds of evangelical churches today: consumer-driven megachurches, dying churches, and new churches whose future is fragile. Denominations will shrink, even vanish, while fewer and fewer evangelical churches will survive and thrive.

The educational institutions sponsored by evangelical churches will not have adequately prepared their students.

4. Despite some very successful developments in the past 25 years, Christian education has not produced a product that can withstand the rising tide of secularism. Evangelicalism has used its educational system primarily to staff its own needs and talk to itself.

Churches’ intent to do good will be characterized as bad.

5. The confrontation between cultural secularism and the faith at the core of evangelical efforts to “do good” is rapidly approaching. We will soon see that the good Evangelicals want to do will be viewed as bad by so many, and much of that work will not be done. Look for ministries to take on a less and less distinctively Christian face in order to survive.

The Bible Belt will not be immune.

6. Even in areas where Evangelicals imagine themselves strong (like the Bible Belt), we will find a great inability to pass on to our children a vital evangelical confidence in the Bible and the importance of the faith.

Churches will become financially unsustainable.

7. The money will dry up.

Though Bible Belt states have had the rug pulled out from underneath them by the Supreme Court’s rulings on same-sex marriage, the evangelical churches in the Bible Belt still exhibit signs of strength.  But, does anyone doubt that the youngest generation of adults have proven to be quite susceptible to secular reasoning?  Does that bode well for church attendance down the road?

Churches’ intent to do good has already been characterized as bad.  Though I think churches did the right thing by taking a stand on moral issues of the day, the inability to spread a well-articulated message throughout all of the American public in support of church stances has boomeranged, and now media censorship will further curtail the churches’ abilities to spread such messages.  Consider this new post, “What Actually Comes Next,” at Erick Erickson’s Red State blog.  In his post he predicts that opposition to same-sex marriage will be portrayed by the media as bigotry and that public pushback to the media position (in such forms as letters to the editor, for example) will be denied expression in the media.  The justification from the media will be that they are taking a principled stand against widespread dissemination of hate speech.   If this imposed silence materializes, the churches will find their efforts to evangelize hampered by a lower profile in American society.  If there is a renewed focus on in-depth schooling of the Gospel as the churches struggle to grow, will it have as much impact as it could have had if that focus had existed at the height of evangelism?

Though Michael Spencer had not articulated a specific source of the coming onslaught against Christianity other than amorphous secularism, in my own ruminations on this blog back in 2010, I did, in fact, predict that opposition to Christianity would very conceivably arise from the LGBT movement.  Consider this article, posted just this week, titled “Does Your Church Ban Gay Marriage? Then It Should Start Paying Taxes,” penned by Felix Salmon at Fusion.  Even moreso than the imposition of income taxes, Felix Salmon looks forward to the day when churches pay property taxes.  I would venture to say that facilities ancillary to the churches, such as church-sponsored universities, would be the first dominos to fall if this scenario were to materialize.  The churches, themselves, would survive a short time longer, I believe, before becoming subject to such a regime.  Also appearing this week, the online edition of Time magazine posted an article by Mark Oppenheimer titled “Now’s the time to End Tax Exemptions for Religious Institutions.”  As with Felix Salmon’s article, Mark Oppenheimer’s argument is couched in terms of the LGBT movement’s success at the Supreme Court.  Will these voices swell to a chorus of voices that call for the same?  If so, is it not easy to see that, as Michael Spencer predicted, the money would, in fact, dry up?

What I find further chilling about the Supreme Court decision is Justice Kennedy’s majority opinion that the 14th Amendment morphed the Constitution into a living document that can can be altered for the sake of compliance with contemporary public viewpoints.  Where is the rule of law?  Will we no longer be a republic?  Will governance be determined by ever-changing whim?  It is clear that such a stance can easily ignore precedents.  Furthermore, it is clear that the 14th Amendment will be used to interpret the Constitution anew even to the point that the 14th Amendment will prevail whenever Constitutional provisions collide with it.  The 10th Amendment was clearly a casualty in this case.  The 1st Amendment appears to be the next Constitutional provision that the LGBT community wants to have the courts reconsider.  If such an effort were to succeed, what else might be endangered?  I’ll leave you to chew on that thought for awhile.

Large campaigns (like Presidential ones) need skilled technical communicators

Editor’s note: What you’ll find in this post below this editor’s note are pages that do not exactly fit the mold of my previous postings on this blog, for they are dressed up a little.  While I have been in graduate school working toward a degree in teaching English to speakers of other languages (TESOL), I have come to the realization that I know little about the genres within the field of technical communication, yet I’ve noticed that the foreign demand to learn more about the tech comm realm in English is really high.  I have taken about three technical communication courses in an attempt to shore up my deficit, even though the courses were not required for my degree.  The text that appears below is my first attempt to write a “white paper,” a genre that may or may not be familiar to those in marketing.  Specifically, my classmates and I were told to write a paper about working with large amounts of text with fairly recently developed content management tools, namely XML, DITA, and single-sourcing.  The basic idea behind content management, beyond mere storage and retrieval, is that much communication in a workplace contains a lot of repeated text with some variations according to specific circumstances.  In other words, we are talking about form letters on steroids.  While technical communicators are employed as grantwriters, editors, and D-I-Y handbook authors, they are most closely associated with high-tech industry where they take the highly specialized jargon of engineers and translate it into plain English so that we can, hopefully, learn the ins and outs of using the most modern cutting edge gadgets at least as well as our pre-adolescent children do.  Their well-honed writing and editing skills document the work of engineers, for engineers have more specialized and important matters to attend to rather than get bogged down in writing.  Technical communicators not only document what the engineers do, but they strive to keep the whole company in the loop on what is coming through the pipleline, gathering feedback from all of them in the process, plus reaching out to users of the new technologies in progress, both internal and external, to focus the company on what users need.  They funnel this feedback back to the administrators and engineers so that improving product design becomes a continuous collaborative process.  In fact, technical communicators will often manage engineering projects, rather than business persons with MBAs or even the engineers themselves, because technical communicators are better equipped to facilitate collaboration between all stakeholders.  This, in a nutshell, is the world of information development.  As I approached this “white paper” assignment, I reflected on the nature of politics and the parallels between crafting new policies to meet citizens’ needs and inventing new products to meet user’s needs.  Small campaigns, of course, cannot afford to hire a team of technical communicators, but they do not need to as the task of communicating amongst staff, the media, and constituents is not so cumbersome.  However, by the time one runs for U.S. President, one must communicate with millions, so the need for collaboration, the need for a consistent message, the need for information development, and the need for handling textual content reuse–form letters on steroids–means that these big campaigns need technical communicators at the core of their communications.  Campaigns should assemble tech comm teams made from workers who have specialized skills that complement each other rather than a collection of generalists.  Already, 10 Republicans have formally announced their candidacies for U.S. President.  How can they possibly break through from single-digit voter support?  They are fooling themselves if they think they can successfully go from no name recognition all the way to gaining the lead and separating themselves from the rest of the pack without the help of skillful technical communicators.  Tech comm is about much more than developing a campaign website.  I recommend reading the works of JoAnn T. Hackos for further insight on information development and technical communication.  By updating the way a campaign communicates, a candidate can be more persuasive about fixing what’s broken in Washington, DC, when they assemble a juggernaut team that bowls over politics as usual.  Americans are innovators . . . at least in technology and industry.  We need political leaders that are also adept innovators.  The “white paper” is written as if to technical communicators working on a campaign, so the pronoun “you” in the text that follows means “you, the technical communicator working for a presidential campaign.”  Most of the “white paper” appears below the fold, so you’ll have to click the mouse again if you want to keep reading.–DJW

ON THE U.S. PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN TRAIL WITH XML, DITA, CONTENT REUSE, AND SINGLE-SOURCING: TIME TO SHOW THE BOSS WHAT TECHNICAL COMMUNICATORS CAN DO

BY DANIEL JACK WILLIAMSON

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Information development can easily be extended beyond engineering firms as single-sourcing, XML, and DITA have heightened the capacity for content reuse of textual data by any organization that generates wide varieties of documents on a massive scale disseminated in both print and online formats. U.S. Presidential campaigns generate wide varieties of documents on a massive scale that are disseminated in both print and online formats. One feature of political communication is repetitive text, thus a technical communicator’s tools for content reuse are ideal for streamlined campaigns to reinforce the candidate’s brand through consistent and disciplined messaging. Though the early adoption phase of these tools is past (Dayton & Hopper, 2010), the tools are still far from universally used, and technical communicators need to not only familiarize themselves with these tools, but advocate for their use in planning the pivotal work of the technical communication team. Summaries of the workings of these tools are presented herein, and the relevance of technical communicators to the operations of very large political campaigns set forth.

TECHNICAL COMMUNICATORS ARE THE ANTIDOTE WASHINGTON NEEDS

You are viewed as much more relevant to answering the documentation and information development needs in Silicon Valley than you are to the same types of tasks in Washington, DC. This is unfortunate, for the average U.S. citizen views Washington as dysfunctional while the same citizen may be constantly amazed by what emerges from the technology pipeline. Remember the disastrous rollout of the Affordable Care Act enrollment website? It is an example of what Washington botched that the Silicon Valley would have gotten right. Your skills are transferable. What you can do to revolutionize campaigns might go a long way toward convincing voters that the candidate you work for may be able to transcend Washington, for what you have to offer is not politics as usual. Read the rest of this entry »

James Williamson guest blog: Imminent rebellion: Rhetoric or forewarning?

Editor’s note:  Ohio native (and current Nevada resident) James Williamson (one of my younger brothers) is back with another in his “Imminent Rebellion” series, which exams the power struggle between states and the U.S. federal government.  This blog article zeros in on the secession petitions forewarded from several states to the U.S. government, but James has been writing about the alienation between states and the federal government for quite some time.  The other guest blog articles in the “Imminent Rebellion” series, starting with the oldest one and progressing to the one just prior to this, can be found here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.–DJW

Imminent Rebellion:  Rhetoric or Forewarning?

There has been a surge of news regarding the secession petitions filed on the White House’s We the People website.  Since I was talking about it over a year ago (you can see my previous blogs on the subject) I’m going to weigh in on the action now that it is coming much closer to front and center.

The latest information that I have is that someone has filed a petition for secession in all 50 states.  I will be the first to admit that many of these petitions have insignificant amounts of support and probably do not reflect popular opinion.  But is it all just talk?  So far.  Talk always precedes actions in the political world.  Is there enough talk that we should be worried?  Worried? Not yet. Concerned? Yes.

There are a few signs that this is no longer just chatter from the fringe elements of society.  One of the signs is the fact that the media is responding to it.  Another is that there are counter petitions being signed.  Another is the fact that several of the states have exceeded the 25,000 signers required to trigger a response from the White House.  As of this writing Tennessee, Georgia, North Carolina, Alabama, Florida, Texas, Louisiana all exceeded the 25,000 signature threshold.  Texas, of course, is leading the way with just over 105,000 signers and Louisiana a distant second with just under 35,000 petitioners.  What is also significant is that the Texas secession petition has more support than any other issue on the “We the People” site.  Perhaps the most significant signal that this idea is not as laughable as the pundits would have you believe is the fact that both the governor of Texas and the governor of Alabama have made statements about secession (not in favor of) already.

Support for secession will only grow with time, and it’s not really about Obama.  Obama (along with congress) is the symptom not the disease.  The cankerous disease that will rip this country in half is the lust for entitlements.  What do I mean by that? Everyone wants something without having to pay for it.  It can’t continue.  When a business gets bloated and can’t pay its bills what does it do?  It contracts, gets back to its core lines of business, and sheds unprofitable business activity.  When a government gets bloated and can’t pay its bills, what does it do?   It spends even more of course.  That’s because entitlements are more addicting than drugs.  If you don’t believe me look at the news coming out of Greece, Spain, and Italy.  Once you are hooked on them you can’t stop . . . mostly because you forget how to get things like food, clothing, and shelter on your own.  It spreads like the plague too because once your neighbor figures out you are getting stuff for free they want some too.  Eventually the consumers outnumber the producers and the producers get crushed.  It’s happened many times already, just not here in the United States.  Most people who argue against me on this point out that we haven’t gone bankrupt after nearly 100 years of ever increasing entitlement spending.  Study your history.  It took hundreds of years for Rome to collapse financially.  Rome had “progressed” nearly as far as we have.  They didn’t recognize gay marriage but homosexuality was commonplace and so were abortions.  Toward the end of the Roman period nearly 1/3 of the empire was on the government payroll and the regulations were so plentiful, they regulated how much weight you could pack on a horse.  I wish I could resurrect a few of the Romans from that time so they could warn us.  Would we listen?

I digress.  Secession:  Most of the pundits in the media point out that there is no legal mechanism for secession.  Some suggest and some directly say that secession is illegal.  That, in and of itself, is a pretty silly observation to make.  Of course it’s not legal!  Why would the government allow itself to be dissolved? That’s committing suicide.  Government will always protect itself. Challenging the authority of any government is the fastest way to get persecuted by it.  I would also point out that our declaring independence from Great Britain was not legal either. Secession and revolution are not a matter of law.  They are highly extra-legal activities by nature, so declaring them illegal and therefore insisting that such won’t happen is about as naive as it gets.

I don’t know what will happen.  I don’t know if Texas will secede.  What I do know is this:  We don’t live in 1860.  Just because it turned out one way the last time doesn’t mean it will end the same a second time.

Gallup says distrust in MSM hits new high

Thanks to this story from Gallup, I get to double-down on my prior post chiding the MSM for straining credibility.

In short, in all the years that Gallup has conducted polls on trust in the media, when it comes to political coverage, the level of mistrust has never reached 60% before, but this year it has.

60%.  Even if you are not a math wiz, you know that 60% is a majority.  The presidential election popular vote results are likely to be less lopsided than that.

There are partisan views on media trust, Gallup found.  The majority of Democrats still trust the media.  The majority of independents and Republicans do not.

So, does this mean that Democrats are the most avid consumers of political news from the MSM?  Actually, no.  Gallup reports that Republicans pay more attention to political news than either Democrats or independents.

My own suspicion is that those who most closely follow the political news become the most acutely aware of media misdirection.

My own message to the MSM is: Stop embarrassing yourself.  We have freedom of the press, so you may pose as emperor as much as you like, but the majority sees that you are wearing no clothes.

To the MSM: A primer on voting in legislative and executive branch elections

To the mainstream media:  I have been very unhappy with how the MSM is always asking the wrong questions.  Of course, there is freedom of the press guaranteed by the Constitution, so you have carte blanche to keep asking the wrong questions.  I might note, though, that, for those of us who aren’t gullible enough to believe everything you try to spoonfeed us, such persistence has not only shred your credibility a long time ago, but it also prompts people like me to run to my blog to publicly call attention to your lapses in credibility.

The MSM has been making much ado about polls that ask questions like:

“Who is more in touch with the middle class?”

“Which candidate has more in common with you?”

“Which candidate is more like you?”

Etc.

The problem with these questions is that they are being posed in the context of the race for POTUS.  The more appropriate context for such polling would be in legislative races, such as Ohio’s U.S. Senate race between Josh Mandel and Sherrod Brown.  For the Presidential race between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama, a more appropriate question would be something like, “Which candidate has the better track record and resume as a leader and administrator?”

The U.S. Constitution not only separated our federal government into three separate branches, (executive, legislative, and judicial), but it also inserted a system of checks and balances to make certain that one branch of government would not be able to overstep its bounds because the other two branches were designed to rein in such abuses of power.  The executive branch carries out and enforces the laws; the legislative branch writes the laws; and the judicial branch interprets the laws and ensures their fidelity to the Constitution.

In addition to the checks and balances exercised between branches, there are checks and balances between the people and government, between the amateur and the professional, between the lay person and the politician. 

In the judicial branch, when a defendant is on trial, a judge presides.  The judge is a professional.  A federal judge is appointed primarily on the basis of his/her resume.  Prosecutors and defenders, also professionals, play a large role in how a trial plays out.  The case, however, is not decided by any of the professionals.  Conviction or acquittal rests in the hands of the twelve amateurs that constitute the jury.

The executive branch should be led by a professional.  A track record or resume should clearly indicate an executive’s leadership and administrative acumen.  The professional exective carries out the laws.

How do the people make sure that the laws are fair to them?  People elect legislative representatives from amongst themselves to convene together for the making of laws.  Our nation’s founders envisioned these as amateurs.  They weren’t intended to stay in office for very long.  They weren’t intended to become life-long professional politicians, especially not in the U.S. House of Representatives, where terms only last two years.  It was thought that ordinary citizens would run for election to Congress, would spend a short season there, if elected, and would return to their place in the private sector after spending that short season in office representing the citizens of their districts.  In Ohio, there are only three basic criteria for eligibility to be elected to Congress: eligibility to vote (a citizen in good standing); residence (Ohio is the state of residence); and age (at least 25 for the U.S. House of Representatives and at least 30 for the U.S. Senate).  The MSM is often guilty of promoting additional criteria to be considered in selecting legislators (such as citing “experience,” or “familiarity with the law”) that are at cross-purposes with those of the framers of the Constitution.  Because the MSM puts too much premium on “experience,” we have too many career politicians who have become insiders more beholden to special interests than to constituents.  Regular legislative turnover would better ensure that lawmakers are in touch with the people, as they have not been too far removed in time and space from the mainstream population of their districts.  The longer a lawmaker serves, the more time lapses since he or she had circulated in the mainstream, and the more the Beltway insulates them and isolates them from the pressing everyday concerns of voters.  Because the MSM puts too much premium on “familiarity with the law,” we have too many lawyers in the legislative branch who have created too many perks and opportunities for their own professions at the expense of others.  Ideally, our legislature would look like a cross-section of our population. 

That’s why I think the pollsters asking questions about a candidate’s compatibility with the voters are among the best questions to ask in legislative races.

I endorse Josh Mandel for U.S. Senate.

In the race for President, though, the bar is set much higher.  I reject high unemployment as the new normal.  I reject a $16 trillion debt as the new normal.  I reject a nuclear Iran as the new normal.  I reject redistribution of wealth as the new normal.  I reject dead diplomats and embassies ablaze as the new normal.  I reject identity politics (us vs. them) as the new normal.  For these reasons, I must reject President Obama’s bid for a second term.

It does not matter to me that Mitt Romney is far higher up the income scale from me than Barack Obama is.  It does not matter to me that I don’t follow equestrian sporting events, like Romney does.  It does not matter to me that I do fill out March Madness brackets, like Barack Obama does.  I don’t need a POTUS who is just like me.  I want a professional, not an amateur.  I need a leader.  I want an American turnaround.  Show me the candidate that has the strongest resume as a turnaround artist.  Show me who has a track record of success as a leader.  At the RNC, Ann Romney, someone who should know, promised me, “This man [Mitt Romney] will not fail.”  Obama already has failed.  The choice could not be more clear.  Mitt Romney is the candidate I want to be POTUS next January.